Project Accountant - Refugee Council

Project Accountant

Context and Purpose of the Job

The Refugee Council was established in 1951 and has been helping asylum seekers and refugees in the UK ever since with a range of expert and holistic services. We also work within the wider refugee movement and through our advocacy work push for wider changes on asylum systems to the benefit of refugees both here and abroad.

In recent years, the Refugee Council has grown both in size and in the number and complexity of its funding streams. Our funding comes from a range of sources including EC grant funding, central government grants and contracts, voluntary income from trusts and foundations, individual giving, and some business and commercial income. Each of these funding streams carries specific funding characteristics, which in turn affect our project design. This post sits within the business partnering team which supports the provision of strategic leadership on the setting and successful delivery of funding strategies to sustainably fund our core service and advocacy activity. This new post has been created specifically to add capacity to the finance team in these areas.

The post holder will work under a Business Partnering Senior – Projects Finance Manager and be allocated as finance support and business partner to several of our key departments. You will work closely with budget holders in services, with income generation (fundraising), and the wider organisation on the financial aspects of externally funded projects.

The key purpose of your work will be to provide budgeting support for external funding bids, help budget holders to monitor and manage funding to achieve maximum impact for our clients, and to ensure accountability for the funding in the form of prompt and accurate funder reporting and financial accounting. You will also be involved in providing ad hoc financial analysis in support of service specific and organisational wide needs.

This is an exciting time to join the Refugee Council, and this is by no means a regular accountant post. The finance team has fostered a positive and collaborative working environment with the rest of the organisation, underpinned by a thorough understanding of our services and how they make a difference for our clients. We expect this post holder to build upon and develop the quality of our work, suggesting and implementing improvements to both financial and organisational systems. It is a post in which you can make a real contribution to the charity, and so help to make a difference to the lives of refugees.

As a flexible finance team in a changing organisation, the Project Accountant can also expect to assist other members of the team as required, including in the provision of management and financial accounting services to the charity; in transaction processing; and in general administrative responsibilities for the team.

 

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Management Accounting, Budgeting & Monitoring

  • To support budget holders in the financial management of services by helping them to monitor actuals against budgets, service plans and forecasts. To liaise with managers to address any issues and suggest options to mitigate any variations from resourcing plans
  • To produce and maintain multi year financial projections for service areas and funding streams, including assisting service managers with the production of annual budgets and in-year forecasts.
  • To meet formally on a quarterly basis with service managers to review actual expenditure and consider reforecasts required for the year.
  • To review the allocations of shared costs to projects to ensure costs are appropriately charged to funding streams.
  • To produce management commentaries for the Head of Finance for inclusion within the monthly Management Accounts, identifying and investigating variances and trends that need to be reported to senior management.
  • To use spreadsheets and the finance system to enter and maintain approved budgets and reforecasts, process year-end accruals and prepayments, and to create and post corrective journal entries as required for correct management and financial accounting.
  • To provide friendly and expert support to service staff on a range of financial topics.
  • To play an active part in the organisational budget planning cycle, both annual and longer term.

 

Funder Planning and Reporting

  • To work with service managers and the income generation team on funding applications for a range of funders including central and local government, trusts, and individual donors. In particular to work with service managers on the production of realistic and complete budgets aligned to the activities planned, within any criteria set by the funder.
  • To review grant agreements and contracts ensuring requirements can be and are met by the organisation.
  • To advise the Head of Finance, Director of Finance and Director of Services on the financial and resource implications of bids and related contractual agreements.
  • To maintain mapping of funder accounting requirements to Refugee Council standard financial reporting.
  • To produce the financial information required for donor reporting, and work with service managers to ensure that narrative reports to funders are consistent with financial reporting.
  • To work alongside service managers and the income generation team on the monitoring and management of grant activity and spend, including identifying reasons for variances and helping to identify options for dealing with them.
  • To work with the Business Partnering Senior – PFM, service managers and the income generation team to highlight areas and gaps in services which will need funding and to work closely with those teams on routes and strategies for securing funding.
  • To maintain oversight of the overall financial position of service areas and support the Income Generation team where they need to look at adjustment to fundraising plans.
  • To work with the Business Partnering Senior – PFM, other finance team members, and the wider organisation, on the development and standardisation of grant budgeting, bidding, monitoring, and reporting processes.

 

General

  • To act as an expert ‘critical friend’ to services and the organisation, ensuring services are run to the maximum benefit of our clients whilst conscious of the overall financial parameters of the charity and of financial accountability.
  • To identify and implement continuous improvement in finance processes, controls and services, in particular where these relate to projects and funding bids, and to negotiate with senior management on best practice in financial processes.
  • To respond to all correspondence (email, telephone, post, fax etc) from staff, volunteers, funders, and other finance users on a timely basis, providing high quality customer service; to escalate more complex queries to the Business Partnering Senior – PFM as necessary.
  • To attend key meetings internally in particular with budget holders, fundraising staff, and senior management; to build links with other teams to ensure a comprehensive service to all finance users.
  • To attend key meetings externally with funders as required representing the Refugee Council and its financial interests.
  • To share in general administrative support responsibilities for the team, including post opening, purchasing, records management including scanning, filing and archiving, procedures manual and standard form updates.
  • To help cover the work of other team members as necessary.

 

Additional Information

Health & Safety

The post holder is responsible for:

Cooperating with the Refugee Council in delivering all legal responsibilities in respect of your own and your colleagues, volunteers, clients and others health and safety whilst at work.

Becoming familiar with the Refugee Council’s Health & Safety Policy and procedures including evacuation procedures in the workplace.

Carrying out risk assessments for their work and especially their own workstation to ensure that they or others are not exposed to unnecessary risk.

 

Flexibility

In order to deliver services effectively, a degree of flexibility is needed and the post-holder may be required to perform work not specifically referred to above. Such duties will, however, fall within the scope of the job, at the appropriate grade. The job description will be subject to periodic review with the post-holder to ensure it accurately reflects the duties of the job.

Equal Opportunities Statement

As part of its recruitment policy, the Refugee Council intends to ensure that no prospective or actual employee is discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, nationality, marital status, sexual orientation, employment status, class, disability, age, religious belief or political persuasion, or is disadvantaged by any condition or requirement which is not demonstrably justifiable.

Working at the Refugee Council

 A commitment to the values of the Refugee Council.

Personal Effectiveness 

With the support of their manager, the post-holder will need to effectively manage their own workload and medium and long term plans and objectives.

Flexible Working

This job is not suitable for job sharing.

This job is suitable for a mix of home and onsite working subject to agreement. Attendance at regular onsite meetings in Stratford is an expectation, as is more occasional attendance at meetings in the Refugee Council’s other offices including nationally.

We are committed to equality and diversity at the Refugee Council and actively encourage applicants from underrepresented groups. If you need any adjustments made to the application process to accommodate your needs, please let us know.

For more information please see Job Description

To apply please complete the online Application Form

Please note that we can only consider applications submitted via our application form. If you have any problems applying online please contact recruitment@refugeecouncil.org.uk